Archive | Art RSS feed for this section

Chest 168; This

23 Jan
This 2

Chest 168; This

This picture contains three elements.

The first, the X-ray image, comes from the museum of a cardiac hospital showing a man with acute haemorrhage into the tissues of his lungs after a massive heart attack. Infiltration of blood into the tissues and air spaces obscures the structure of the lungs on the X-ray.

An image of a dusty Australian roadside in the late afternoon, in which the dust thrown up by a passing heavy goods road-train partially obscures the trees and landscape, overlies the X-ray.

The third is a fragmentary document, a faded, cracked, and broken warning sign in which only the word ‘this’  was legible, and it stands out clearly, the remainder of the message is obscured by time.

‘This’ denotes whatever is being referred to at the moment when the word is used. ‘This’ denotes the object of attention. Every time the word ‘this’ is used it denotes a different object, and the only constant in its use is the relationship between user and object.  In this image, ‘this’ is both object and self-referential; ‘this’ refers to ‘this’. This relationship is obscure.




Chest 167; Dislocation

19 Jan

Chest 167; Dislocation

The image is taken from the acute X-ray of a right shoulder, it includes some of the chest, and so I felt it could be included in my series. It is one of very few X-ray pictures where I know the identity of the owner. My dearest friend and companion. She slipped and fell just over a year ago. When I picked her up it was obvious that the shoulder was dislocated, possibly broken. As a medical student I was taught the Hippocratic method of shoulder dislocation reduction, and so reduced her shoulder immediately whilst she was still in shock and wouldn’t register the pain.

This image contains the X-ray taken on the same day as the accident. The shoulder is dislocated, and the bone on the glenoid of the scapula in the joint is broken. It took a year and a shoulder replacement to mend. Circles within circles represent the microscopic bone structure. The colours, angles and bright points reflect that year of exquisite pain and suffering.

Chest 166; Histoplasmosis

7 Sep
Chest 166 Histoplasmosis

Chest 166; Histoplasmosis

The chest X-ray in this picture came from an older man who was infected with a tiny yeast-like organism called Histoplasma. It is common in the environment and found in soil, bird, and bat guano. People exposed to bat colonies are susceptible to the condition, when they breathe in the spores in the air. The condition is usually acute, but self limiting and 90% have no signs of illness at all. A few develop a mild chest infection. Rarely, as in this case man who was immune suppressed, the organism can spread into the tissues and pre-existing lung disease such as tuberculosis is another predisposing factor. The organism is found world wide and cases of histoplasmosis have been seen in Australia.

I used images of coloured leaves, soil, and the splattered mud on the side of a motor vehicle to enhance this image.

Sinuses and air pollution

27 Aug
Sinuses J

Sinuses and air pollution

I was asked recently by someone who is interested in that area to make one of my X-ray pictures using an X-ray of the sinuses. My  pictures are usually based on a chest X-ray and I was initially inclined to disregard the suggestion, however it occurred that the sinuses and nasal airways are part of the respiratory system, and anyway, an X-ray of the sinuses is quite picturesque, if a little macabre.

The link in this picture is with sinusitis and diesel fumes, due to pollution from vehicles in cities. Air pollution associated with vehicle exhausts causes inflammation of the lungs, sinuses and airways and many thousands of deaths annually in highly populated areas. It is also associated with lung cancer and heart disease. Much of the pollution arising from vehicle exhaust is nitrogen dioxide and sooty particles. The problems that vehicle related particles causes have been studied according to their size. Exhaust gases are similar to the gases released by burning cigarettes in that they chemically damage the cilia of the airways. These are the tiny waving hair like structures on the mucosal surface that waft particles, foreign material, and mucus away so that they can be dealt with. When these stop working particles accumulate on the airways and physically damage the membranes. It was discovered that fine particles less than 2.5 micrometres can penetrate deep into the body, mainly by breathing, into the airways. Finer particles may even pass through the skin. Once inside the body they settle on the linings of the sinuses, airways, and the air-exchange surfaces of the lung where they cause inflammation and release of histamine. The smallest particles can pass into the blood stream where they cause blood thickening and increase the risk of brain strokes. The presence of fine particles of soot in the lungs damages the cells that attempt to repair themselves. This prolonged damage/repair sequence leads to errors in DNA production and can induce cancers.

I chose a well-taken frontal sinus X-ray of a de-identified person. I photographed the image from a viewing screen, and that gives an interesting raster to the final picture, almost like cross-hatching. In order to give further interest and colour I overlaid two automotive related photos. One of the side of a vehicle splattered with mud to give some detail and interest. Another, the sun-bleached paintwork on a car-wash machine provides a base colour against which the algorithms of the program can work – some lettering is present vaguely on the left side of the final image. A third photo of the coloured face of a piece of stone with multiple swirls gives pattern and further interacts with the base colour.


Chest 165; Billabong spirit

25 May

Chest 165 Billabong spirit

In the depths of Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory are secret places and secret pools reached only on foot, or in our case by helicopter, with permission of the aboriginal owners.

This is the pool where we bathed  alone accompanied only by ancient spirits of the outback, below massive orange sandstone cliffs. Here I tried to capture the mysterious influences we felt, whilst being allowed to cleanse ourselves in this mountain water.

This is the last in this particular series. I have tried to make the four images as representative of the places that the original pictures came from whilst reflecting the mood I felt at the time.


Chest 164; Back to Turtle Rock

24 May
Chest 164 Two bird heads

Chest 164; Back to Turtle Rock

This was originally entitled two birds heads. The technique was to overlay and subtract two images of a birds head, then distort the upper image to allow the lower to shine through. This was then overlaid with other images to induce an amazing colour scheme that even surprised me. The trees were inserted to add texture and focus. In the background the shape of the heart and ribs in the X-ray can just be seen.

Chest 163; Turtle Rock again

23 May
Chest 163 Turtle rock again

Chest 163; Turtle Rock again


This is the second in the series of fun images. I wanted to give a mysterious, even spiritual, impression to the site of Turtle Rock, a substantial monolith in the adjacent property. The walls of the cave underneath are covered with ancient aboriginal rock paintings.

The chest X-ray, the same used in the previous post, can be seen just emerging from between the saplings.

Chest 162; Splash

22 May
Chest 162 Splash

Chest 162; Splash 2017

After a considerable time away from my blog, I have gained enough time to spend trying to recover the small skills learned with photoshop.

The next series of four pictures including the above is an exercise using only the same few images found on a particular drive on my laptop.The aim was to find the different moods that can be created with the same images. There is only one X-ray used in the series, a picture of some trees, closeup of a bird, and some misty areas in a mountain stream.

This series has no particular medical philosophy with it, it was just fun.


Chest 160; OWR

16 Feb


Whilst not primarily a chest disease, Osler Weber Rendu (Otherwise known as Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia) is a rare genetic condition of the arteries that may manifest anywhere in the body. In this disorder, the switch that controls blood-vessel growth cannot spontaneously turn off. Abnormal clusters and knots of vessels form. People with this condition often have small blood vessel malformations that cause red or purple spots on the lips or tongue. These are telangiectasia, sometimes known as birthmarks, and are commonly seen in other conditions.

The walls of the abnormal vessels are thin, weak, and fragile, and easily bleed after minor trauma. Internal blood-pressure may make them blow up like a small balloon called an aneurysm.

Millions of fine capillaries in normal lungs act to filter out any blood clots that may arise in the body. In OWR abnormal connections can also occur between arteries and veins that allow blood to shunt from one to the other. In this way, blood clots normally filtered in the lungs may cross over into the arterial system. Blood-flow then sweeps them along to lodge elsewhere in the body, including the brain where they block an artery causing a stroke.

The chest X-ray in this image comes from a person with this condition. I have retained quite a lot of the original X-ray in the picture and the complex blood vessels remain visible. People may carry the gene for the condition and never express it, and so it is impossible to know who carries this. I have therefore included several people in a crowd to represent the random nature of genetic conditions generally, and in the background complex pipework in a factory with valves and dials represent the arteries and veins of the body.


Chest 156; Pseudo-Aneurysm

25 Jan


When damage occurs to the wall of a normal blood vessel and bleeds into body tissues, clotting blood generally causes the hemorrhage  to stop. Leaked blood disperses and is slowly re-absorbed. However if damage occurs to the inner layer of the vessel whilst the soft, thin outer coating is unbroken, the pressure of blood into the area  may cause the thin tissue layer to blow up like a balloon and form a cavity. Pressure does not allow the space to collapse, blood swirls around keeping it open and, indeed, increasing its size. This is known as a pseudo-aneurysm.

The Chest X-ray in this image is from a 40-year-old driver one month after a major accident. He complained of a swelling above the right collarbone (clavicle) and was unable to move his right arm. An X-ray study of the artery – an angiogram – showed a large pseudo-aneurysm.

In my image, I have overlaid the man’s chest X-ray with the angiogram study of the arteries of his right arm. The artery and the aneurysm are depicted in multiple layers and I have used the colour scheme to indicate the dangerous nature of this condition.

%d bloggers like this: